Yesterday afternoon, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports did what he usually does: wrtie about the Major League Baseball trade market. And of course, it was more about the scuffling Phillies, who appear to be the team most likely to trade someone since it, you know, makes sense. But yet, Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. tried to keep the discussion with Heyman short by saying "I'm not trading anyone." Amaro would go on to indicate that he could trade some pieces, but they may not be the ones that are obvious trade candidates to everyone else.
The day we watched Cliff Lee pitch a gem and Jonathan Papelbon help blow it, Amaro continued his line about needing Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon to win. Heyman seemed to think that the Phillies could repeat their approach from last year and look to sell off some lower-profile pieces approaching free agency, namely Chase Utley and Michael Young.
Much more likely to be dealt if the Phillies ultimately decide to trade would be veteran positional stars Chase Utley and Michael Young, who are in the last year of their long-term deals. Young has just over $8 million left on his $16 million 2013 salary, and Utley has about $8 million to go on his $15 million salary.
The only problem with that is that upon accepting the trade to Philadelphia, Young only accepted on the condition of a full no-trade clause, among other benefits. We know that Young had to take some bereavement time to go tend to a health matter with his son, and in this case, tending to his son's needs may be more important than winning some more games. Shaking up his life in this situation probably won't help much.
As for Utley, the Phillies could be better served letting him walk at the end of the year. The Phillies could get a piece for him in a trade, or a high draft pick next year in the draft. Utley could ride into the sunset like Pat Burrell, whom the Phillies fans gratefully saw off. Burrell signed with the Tampa Bay Rays, was cheered when he came back to town, and the Phillies got significantly more production from Raul Ibañez.
With Utley and Ruiz becoming free agents, the team could potentially end up with three first round picks, depending on their production. Yes, the players could accept arbitration (though not most likely), but a one-year deal for Utley or Ruiz wouldn't be that bad either; it would give time for Cesar Hernandez and Tommy Joseph to develop.
Amaro wouldn't rule out completely trading Papelbon and Lee, but the price would have to be outrageous. The Atlanta Braves once traded outrageous prices to acquire both J.D. Drew and later Mark Teixeira. I'm sure the Phillies would be OK if they could get Adam Wainright for J.D. Drew and Neftali Feliz/Elvis Andrus/Matt Harrison/Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Teixeira. But more often it is Tyson Gillies/Phillippe Aumont/J.C. Ramirez. So maybe they stay.
My only thought is: what did they give up to acquire those guys? Money. That's it. The Phillies have money. Now let's get some players and use more money to sign other good players.